OREMUS: 27 February 2009

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Thu Feb 26 17:00:01 GMT 2009


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OREMUS for Friday, February 27, 2009
George Herbert, Priest, Poet, 1633

O God, make speed to save us;
O Lord, make haste to help us.

Blessed are you, eternal God, 
creator and ruler of the universe. 
You are our God, 
and we are the creatures of your hand. 
You made us from the dust of the earth, 
breathed into us the breath of life, 
and set us in your world to love and serve you. 
When we rejected your love 
and ignored your wisdom. 
you did not reject us. 
You loved us still
and call us again and again to turn to you
in obedience and in love. 
For these and all your mercies, we praise you:
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
Blessed be God for ever!

An opening canticle may be sung. 
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Psalm 40

I waited patiently upon the Lord;*
 he stooped to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the desolate pit,
   out of the mire and clay;*
 he set my feet upon a high cliff and made my footing sure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
   a song of praise to our God;*
 many shall see and stand in awe
   and put their trust in the Lord.
Happy are they who trust in the Lord!*
 they do not resort to evil spirits or turn to false gods.
Great things are they that you have done, O Lord my God!
   how great your wonders and your plans for us!*
 there is none who can be compared with you.
O that I could make them known and tell them!*
 but they are more than I can count.
In sacrifice and offering you take no pleasure*
 you have given me ears to hear you;
Burntoffering and sinoffering you have not required,*
 and so I said, 'Behold, I come.
'In the roll of the book it is written concerning me:*
 "I love to do your will, O my God;
 your law is deep in my heart."'
I proclaimed righteousness in the great congregation;*
 behold, I did not restrain my lips;
 and that, O Lord, you know.
Your righteousness have I not hidden in my heart;
   I have spoken of your faithfulness and your deliverance;*
 I have not concealed your love and faithfulness
   from the great congregation.
You are the Lord;
   do not withhold your compassion from me;*
 let your love and your faithfulness keep me safe for ever,
For innumerable troubles have crowded upon me;
   my sins have overtaken me and I cannot see;*
 they are more in number than the hairs of my head,
   and my heart fails me.
Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me;*
 O Lord, make haste to help me.
Let them be ashamed and altogether dismayed
   who seek after my life to destroy it;*
 let them draw back and be disgraced

   who take pleasure in my misfortune.
Let those who say 'Aha!' and gloat over me be confounded,*
 because they are ashamed.
Let all who seek you rejoice in you and be glad;*
 let those who love your salvation continually say,
   'Great is the Lord!'
Though I am poor and afflicted,*
 the Lord will have regard for me.
You are my helper and my deliverer;*
 do not tarry, O my God.

A Song of Christ the Servant 1 Peter 2.21b25 

Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example,  
that you should follow in his steps. 
He committed no sin, no guile was found on his lips,  
when he was reviled, he did not revile in turn. 
When he suffered, he did not threaten,  
but he trusted himself to God who judges justly. 
Christ himself bore our sins in his body on the tree,  
that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. 
By his wounds, you have been healed, 
for you were straying like sheep,  
but have now returned 
to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.

Psalm 149

Sing to the Lord a new song;*
 sing his praise in the congregation of the faithful.
Let Israel rejoice in his maker;*
 let the children of Zion be joyful in their king.
Let them praise his name in the dance;*
 let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp.
For the Lord takes pleasure in his people*
 and adorns the poor with victory.
Let the faithful rejoice in triumph;*
 let them be joyful on their beds.
Let the praises of God be in their throat*
 and a twoedged sword in their hand;
To wreak vengeance on the nations*
 and punishment on the peoples;
To bind their kings in chains*
 and their nobles with links of iron;
To inflict on them the judgement decreed;*
 this is glory for all his faithful people.

FIRST READING [Genesis 21:9-21]:

But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, playing with her son Isaac. So she said to Abraham, ?Cast out this slave woman with her son; for the son of this slave woman shall not inherit along with my son Isaac.? The matter was very distressing to Abraham on account of his son. But God said to Abraham, ?Do not be distressed because of the boy and because of your slave woman; whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for it is through Isaac that offspring shall be named after you. As for the son of the slave woman, I will make a nation of him also, because he is your offspring.? So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed, and wandered about in the wilderness of Beer-sheba. 

When the water in the skin was gone, she cast the child under one of the bushes. Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot; for she said, ?Do not let me look on the death of the child.? And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept. And God heard the voice of the boy; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, ?What troubles you, Hagar? Do not be afraid; for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. Come, lift up the boy and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make a great nation of him.? Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. She went, and filled the skin with water, and gave the boy a drink. 

God was with the boy, and he grew up; he lived in the wilderness, and became an expert with the bow. He lived in the wilderness of Paran; and his mother got a wife for him from the land of Egypt. 

HYMN 
Words: George Herbert, 1633
Tune: Sandys, Carlisle    

Teach me, my God and King,
in all things thee to see,
and what I do in anything
to do it as for thee.

A man that looks on glass,
on it may stay his eye;
or if he pleaseth, through it pass,
and then the heaven espy.

All may of thee partake;
nothing can be so mean,
which with this tincture, "for thy sake,"
will not grow bright and clean.

A servant with this clause
makes drudgery divine:
who sweeps a room, as for thy laws,
makes that and the action fine.

This is the famous stone
that turneth all to gold;
for that which God doth touch and own
cannot for less be told.

SECOND READING [1 Corinthians 1:18-end]:

For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,

?I will destroy the wisdom of theÿwise,
   and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.?
 
Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God?s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God?s weakness is stronger than human strength. 

Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God. He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, in order that, as it is written, ?Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.? 

The Benedictus (Morning), 
the Magnificat (Evening), or 
Nunc dimittis (Night) may follow.

Prayer:
Teach us, O Lord, the way of your statutes:
And lead us in the path of your commandments.

Keep our nation under your care:
And guide us in justice and truth.

O Lord, deal graciously with your servants;
teach us discernment and knowledge.

Let not the needy be forgotten:
Nor the hope of the poor be taken away.

Guide the meek in judgement:
And teach your ways to the gentle.

Lord, remember your people:
Whom you have purchased and redeemed of old.

God of grace,
you loved the world so much
that you gave your only Son to be our Savior.
Help us to rejoice in our salvation
by showing mercy and truth,
and by walking in the way of righteousness and peace.
We ask this in his Name and for his sake. Amen.

King of glory, King of peace,
who called your servant George Herbert
from the pursuit of worldly honours
to be a priest in the temple of his God and King:
grant us also the grace to offer ourselves
with singleness of heart in humble obedience to your service;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.       
		
Trusting in the compassion of God,
let us pray as our Savior taught us:

- The Lord's Prayer

May the God of peace
make us holy in every way
and keep our whole being--
spirit, soul, and body--
free from every fault
at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

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The psalms are from _Celebrating Common Prayer_ (Mowbray), (c) The Society of Saint Francis 1992, which is used with permission.

The canticle is from _Common Worship: Daily Prayer, Preliminary
Edition_, copyright (c) The Archbishops' Council, 2002.

The biblical passage is from The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized
Edition), copyright (c) 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education
of  the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. Used by
permission. All rights reserved.

The opening prayer of thanksgiving is from _Book of Common Worship_, (c) 1993 Westminster / John Knox Press. The closing sentence is 1 Thessalonians 5:23, adapted.

George Herbert was born in 1593, a cousin of the Earl of Pembroke. His mother was a
friend of the poet John Donne. George attended Trinity College, Cambridge, and became the Public Orator of the University, responsible for giving speeches of welcome in Latin to famoous visitors, and writing letters of thanks, also in Latin, to acknowledge gifts of books for the University Library. This brought him to the attention of King James I, who granted him an annual allowance, and seemed likely to make him an ambassador. However, in 1625 the king died, and George Hebert,
who had originally gone to college with the intention of becoming a priest, but had head turned by the prospect of a career at Court, determined anew to seek ordination. In 1626 he was ordained, and became vicar and then rector of the parish of Bemerton and neighboring Fugglestone, not far from Salisbury.

He served faithfully as a parish priest, diligently visiting his parishioners and bringing them the sacraments when they were ill, and food and clothing when they were in want. He read Morning and Evening Prayer daily in the church, encouraging the congregation to join him when possible, and ringing the church bell before each service so that those who could not come might hear it and pause in their work to join their prayers with his. He used to go once a week to Salisbury to hear Evening Prayer sung there in the cathedral. On one occasion he was late because he had met
a man whose horse had fallen with a heavy load, and he stopped, took off his coat, and helped the man to unload the cart, get the horse back on its feet, and then reload the cart. His spontaneous generosity and good will won him the affection of his parishioners.

Today, however, he is remembered chiefly for his book of poems, The Temple, which he sent shortly before his death to his friend Nicholas Ferrar, to publish if he thought them suitable. They were published after Herbert's death, and have influenced the style of other poets, including Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Several of them have been used as hymns, in particular "Teach me, my God and King," and "Let all the world in every corner sing." Another of his poems contains the lines:
     Prayer, the Church's banquet, Angel's age,
     God's breath in man returning to his birth,
     The soul in paraphrase, the heart in pilgrimage,
     The Christian plummet sounding heav'n and earth.

He also wrote a volume for parish clergy called A Priest to the Temple; or, The Country Parson.

He died on 1 March 1633, but is commemorated two days earlier, to avoid conflict with other commemorations. 



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